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Microsoft Lumia 535: First Non-Nokia Smartphone

Having officially dropped the Nokia brand from its devices, apps, and services, Microsoft offers up a ho-hum handset for emerging markets.
Smartphone Personality Test: Can You Judge Me Now?
Smartphone Personality Test: Can You Judge Me Now?
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Say hello to the Lumia 535, a new smartphone from Microsoft. This entry-level Windows Phone is the first to bear the Microsoft brand instead of Nokia. Sadly, that's about the most notable facet of this otherwise ho-hum handset for emerging markets.

The Lumia 535 doesn't tread any new ground for Microsoft's handset division. In fact, it is a bit of a rehash of existing entry-level smartphones. The device has a 5-inch qHD LCD screen, which has 960 x 540 pixels. Microsoft uses ClearBlack technology for the best possible contrast on Lumia devices, and the panel is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Microsoft put a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor under the hood. This is Qualcomm's volume processor, but at least the 535 includes 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It also accepts memory cards up to 128 GB.

Microsoft has taken an interesting tack with the cameras. The 535 has two cameras, both of which can capture 5-megapixel images. The main shooter on the back has an LED flash and a 28 mm lens. The user-facing camera has a wide-angle 24 mm lens so owners can fit more faces in their selfies. Each has an aperture of f/2.4 and can capture video at FWVGA (848 x 480 pixels) resolution. Microsoft borrowed the user-facing camera sensor from the slightly more upscale Lumia 735, which was announced earlier this year.

[For more on Microsoft-branded smartphones, see Microsoft Smartphones Drop Nokia Name.]

The Lumia 535 will come in two variants: with one SIM card slot or with two SIM card slots. Dual-SIM devices are popular in emerging markets. Since the 535 is targeted at such markets, Microsoft is keeping the price low. One way it trimmed costs was to omit support for LTE 4G. The Lumia 535 is limited to 3G networks, though it can access WCDMA at a speedy 42 Mbit/s. It also packs Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and WiFi. There's no NFC aboard.

The phone will ship with the most up-to-date version of Windows Phone 8.1, with the Lumia Denim system upgrade installed. Denim adds a handful of minor features above and beyond what's contained in WP8.1. Of course, the 535 offers deep integration with Microsoft apps and services, including OneDrive, Office, OneNote, Skype, XBox, and Exchange ActiveSync. The phone also includes Nokia's HERE Maps (Nokia still owns the mapping businesses). Businesses looking to manage the Lumia 535 will be pleased to learn that it is compatible with AirWatch, MobileIron, Symantec, Microsoft System Center, OMA Client Provisioning v1.1, OMA Device Management v1.1.2, OMA Device Management v1.2, and Windows Intune tools.

The Lumia 535 will be sold in a handful of bright colors. The rear shell is removable, and the phone is compatible with a number of Microsoft-branded accessories, such as flip cover. The phone goes on sale in select markets later in November and will cost approximately $136. Microsoft hasn't said if the Lumia 535 will be sold in the US. If it is, expect it to be available only from pre-paid providers such as MetroPCS or Cricket Wireless.

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